Horror sequels can be extremely polarizing. A good sequels continue the plot of the original in a way that makes sense. A bad sequel tries to cash in with a sub-par plot, smaller budget, and worse acting while still presenting itself as a serious sequel. Bad but entertaining sequels take the basics of the original’s plot, add a ton of gore and better actors, and give as many head nods to better films to the point that it feels like stealing. Presenting Night of the Demons 2.
Movie: Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
Plot: A group of kids from a boarding school return to Hull House six years after the events of the first Night of the Demons to mess around with demonic energies on Halloween. Their practical jokes unleash Angela to wreck havoc at their school Halloween dance and kidnap her sister in order to sacrifice her to Satan. Sibling rivalry at a whole other level.
Killer: Demonic possession is the physical killer in Night of the Demons 2, but the real killer seems to be teenage hormones, for everyone except Terri (maybe because Christine Taylor had a clause in her contract that says she won’t die in the end.)
Critique: There are some horror films that beg for a sequel. For me, Night of the Demons was not one of those films. It had its original moments, or more a blend of other directors’ original moments (think spawn of Sam Raimi and David Cronenberg with Savage Steve Holland playing mid-wife), but had the feeling of a one-and-done film. We had our “horny teenagers party in a haunted house” fix for the decade. There was nothing more to tell.
But I guess writer Joe Augustyn got Blue Rider Pictures to believe that every decade needs a “horny teenagers party in a haunted house” movie written by him, so we have Night of the Demons 2. And I had a change of heart about this sequel when I finally saw it.
There’s no denying that Night of the Demons 2 “borrows” from many past horror movies. We have the continual theme of demons making us giggle from Evil Dead, the kung fu of “the cloth” from Peter Jackson’s Braindead / Dead Alive, holy water water pistols from The Lost Boys (but the first time a Super Soaker was used, which was borrowed by Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood), and I can swear I’ve seen a Lamia like that in a film (more similar than Freddy’s in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors).
But the film doesn’t ask its audience to ever take it seriously, so these borrowings seem to act as homages to those films rather than rip-offs. Add to that a capable cast that really gets into their characters, a ton of gore and great make-up, and a dance sequence by Angela that is just as long as the original but broken up a bit more by reaction shots, and we have an entertaining sequel in Night of the Demons 2. It’s not going to scare you, but it will engage you in the same way that Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn did: with awkward horror humor.
Scene of Awesomeness: Demonic Kurt playing basketball with his own head when Johnny finds him at Hull House is the first time I remember sports and horror coming together so perfectly, complete with horribly entertaining jokes.
Scene of Ridiculousness: Night of the Demons 2 is full of ridiculousness, but Sister Gloria’s impersonation of the zombie ass-kicking Father McGruder from Peter Jackson’s Braindead / Dead Alive rises to the top, both ridiculous and awesome at the same time. She even replaces his catch-phrase, “I kick ass for the Lord!” with an equally apt, “Leave a little room for the Holy Ghost!” A close second is Rick calling Terri (Christine Taylor) Marsha, considering she probably just got cast as Marsha Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie from 1995 and told everyone on-set about it.
Body Count: 8 (Less than the original, but if you re-count everyone that turned into demons, the number goes up to 14.)
2 bloody slashings
1 French kiss and humping of demonic possession
1 lipstick penetration and kiss of demonic possession
1 hand melting from demon breast-hands followed by a neck-snapping… and the now prerequisite French kiss of demonic possession
1 spiked bat to the head
Multiple demon meltings and explosions (Awesomely Overkill Award, even though demons usually don’t count towards the body count. The effects are so insane that it surpasses all other deaths in the movie.)
5 pairs of breasts ( +1 pair of Lamia breasts)
Actors/Actresses of Note: The biggest name in this film is Christine Taylor, who launched her acting career as Melody Hanson in Nickelodeon’s Hey Dude before going on to play Marsha in the Brady Bunch revival and countless comedies, mostly connected to her old consort Ben Stiller. Next we have Bobby Jacoby, aka Robert Jayne, known for his role in Tremors and lesser known for his role in Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2. We also have Jennifer Rhodes, known in cult films as the mother of Veronica (Winona Ryder) in Heathers. Finally, there’s Amelia Kinkade, reprising her role as Angela in every Night of the Demons sequel except the remake.
Quote: “Leave a little room for the Holy Ghost!” – Sister Gloria